When future historians write about this period in U.S.-Israel relations,
this editorial will warrant serious mention. The unease felt by some
American Jews about Israel's direction is moving into the mainstream.
Over the past few months, I've spoken with lay leaders of many of the
largest Jewish organizations (organizations that would very much prefer
not to be affiliated with such left-wing outfits as J Street), and the
question they ask is this: Just what is Bibi doing? If American Jews are
forced to choose between their liberal values (and most American Jews
are liberal) and support for a Jewish state that seems to be growing
increasingly illiberal, these leaders say that Israel -- and not the
Democratic Party -- will be the one to suffer.
Do those unelected 'American Jews' speak for American Jewry? Does American Jewry still back the Democratic party (Goldberg's holy grail) to the extent that he thinks they do? Given the poll numbers in the upcoming midterm election, one has to wonder.
The Israeli government doesn't seem to understand that the status quo is
unsustainable. As I've written (over and over again), I am not arguing
for an immediate pullout from the West Bank; the times are too
dangerous, and the Palestinian Authority too weak and corrupt and
cowardly, for such a move. But in the meantime, Israel could help create
conditions so that a Palestinian state could one day be born. What this
means is simple: Netanyahu should take no steps that further entangle
Israel in the lives of Palestinians. It also means that Israel should
try to negotiate in good faith with President Mahmoud Abbas, who is the
best interlocutor Israel is going to have, despite his many obvious
flaws. If nothing else, Netanyahu should call his bluff.
Netanyahu and his predecessors have called Abu Mazen's and his predecessor's bluff numerous times. There was Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat (2000), Ehud Olmert and Abu Mazen (2008) and Netanyahu and Abu Bluff (2010). How many more times does it have to be called? What incentive do the 'Palestinians' have to negotiate seriously if everything is going to be frozen forever anyway? Why should they ever compromise?
And yes, the status quo is sustainable. It's been 47 years since 1967. The 'Palestinians' have shown no indication that they are ready to accept Israel's 'right to exist' in any borders. What alternative do we have but to sustain the status quo?
It also means understanding that while most settlement expansion that is
now taking place in the West Bank is happening in areas that will most
likely come under Israeli control in the event of a final peace deal, the Palestinians haven't agreed to this division yet.
Unilateral moves do not help. They certainly don't help Israel's
international standing, which is lower than it has ever been, and they
certainly don't help maintain Israel as a cause that garners bipartisan
support in the U.S.
So let's make sure the 'Palestinians' have nothing to lose by not compromising? That's going to get them just rushing to the table. /sarc.
We have a saying in Hebrew, צדיקים מלאכתם נעשית בידי שמים (the work of the righteous is done by Heaven). A call by 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud AbbasAbu Mazen for a 'day of rage' on the Temple Mount was a washout on Friday, thanks to rains from the Heavens. It poured.
Police were on high alert in Jerusalem on Friday, deploying 3,000
officers after Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah
faction pledged a "day of rage" - but aside from a few incidents, it has been more of a "day of rain" in the wet capital after Jews changed to reciting the ten tal u'matar seasonal prayer for rain Thursday night.
Not all Arab rioters took a rain check however, as several of them
shot fireworks from rooftops adjacent to the Council Gate (Bab al-Majlis
in Arabic) which leads to the Temple Mount.
Several of the Arab rioters then tried to force their way through a
police barricade at the Gate, where they were repulsed by police forces
who used crowd dispersal means to break apart the violent crowd.
Then rioters launched a barrage of rocks on police and Border Patrol
officers in nearby Wadi Joz neighborhood, where Arab assailants ambushed a Jewish car last night (Thursday). In the clash police used dispersal means, and no injuries were reported.
The police bowed to President Hussein Obama and opened the Temple Mount to Muslim savages.
Police folded to international pressure from
America and Arab states on Thursday night, allowing Muslim men over 50
and all Muslim women access to the site on Friday despite the danger of
riots that has turned into an epidemic at the site.
The cartoon struck many as tone deaf, akin to depicting Netanyahu as Hitler.
Not surprisingly, it inflamed
those who already believe Haaretz is so left wing as to verge into
anti-Israel territory. But it also left even many diehard Bibi haters raising their eyebrows.
Haaretz is standing by the cartoonist, Amos Biderman, publishing another article article on Thursday in which Biderman claims - get this - that he didn't know that Americans were so sensitive about 9/11.
“It was certainly not my intention to insult or upset anyone,”
Biderman told Haaretz on Thursday. “I wasn’t sufficiently aware of the
great sensitivity that 9/11 holds for Americans.”
According to Biderman, his cartoon contained criticism of Netanyahu.
“I was mocking Bibi,” he said. “He’s been acting like a bull in a
china shop with the United States, which is Israel’s most important
Is that what it was? I thought cartoons were supposed to be funny. This one obviously is not.
Only 16 percent of Israelis believe US President Barack Obama’s
administration is more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian, according to a
Smith Research poll taken Wednesday night, exclusively for The
The poll of 500 respondents representing a
statistical sample of the adult Israeli Jewish population was taken
following a report in The Atlantic in which officials close to Obama
were quoted sharply criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and
calling him “chickenshit.”
The report resulted in a major
backlash among Israelis and in criticism of Obama across the political
spectrum. Smith Research has asked Israelis in 11 Jerusalem Post polls
throughout Obama’s tenure whether his administration is more
pro-Israel, more pro-Palestinian, or neutral, which is seen as the
bellwether question of whether Israelis believe a US president is on
The new poll found that 53% consider the
administration more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israel, 20% called it
neutral, and 11% did not express an opinion. The margin of error of the
poll was 4.5 percentage points.
By contrast, the last Smith
Research poll that asked the question, following Obama’s March 2013
visit to Israel, found that 27% considered his administration more
pro-Israel, 16% said more pro-Palestinian, 39% neutral and 18% did not
express an opinion. Since then, Obama’s administration has gone from an
11% majority calling it more pro-Israel, to a majority of 37% deeming
it more pro-Palestinian.
After Wednesday night's terror attack in which Yehuda Glick, an advocate of Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount, was shot and seriously wounded, the Israel Police announced on Thursday that no one would be allowed on the Temple Mount.
I received the following via email, unsourced. It's spot-on.
"Israel TV have been showing the massive destruction of hundreds of
homes by the Egyptians as they create a 500 meter buffer zone with Gaza
on their side of the ...border.
1165 families have been removed as their homes are destroyed.
it strange that this is a yawn for the Western media. Not worth a
mention. No angry street demonstrations. No condemnation by UN human
rights organizations. No criticism by the Obama Administration. Nothing.
There's no Jewish state to blame and accuse of terrible crimes.
has to be said that the Egyptians were uncovering Hamas tunnels as they
cleared the area, which was part of the reason for the operation.
Egypt and Israel have a common cause in eliminating this joint Islamic threat, albeit Palestinian."
'Palestinian' terrorist who shot Yehuda Glick worked at Begin Center restaurant
Mu'taz (or Moataz) Hijazi, the 'Palestinian' terrorist who shot and severely wounded Temple Mount prayer activist Yehuda Glick outside the Begin Heritage Center on Wednesday night, didn't have to go very far to carry out his crime. Hijazi was employed at the Terasa restaurant, which is located inside the Begin Centerhaving served time in prison on terror charges until 2012.
32 year-old Islamic Jihad terrorist Mu'taz Hijazi was released from
prison in 2012, after serving 11 months for terrorism against Jews.
Upon his release, he made the following remarks in an interview shortly after his release:
"I am happy to return to Jerusalem. I wish to be a thorn in the throat of the Zionist plan to Judaize Jerusalem."
Arutz Sheva reached out to the Terasa restaurant for clarification as to how a convicted terrorist could be employed there, but the restaurant refused to issue a response.
Apparently Hijazi presented a good front, with multiple witnesses telling Arutz Sheva that they had encountered him in the past and that he had been, for all intents and purposes, civil.
But it appears Hijazi had been leading a double life: the Israel
Security Agency (ISA), or Shin Bet, is now stating (10:45 am IST) that
Hijazi was likely responsible for August's shooting attackon a soldier near Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, after police found and examined the scooter used in both incidents.
Hijazi had even specifically sought out Glick, checking extensively
where and when he would be speaking before striking, according to Channel 10.
Police are currently investigating how the restaurant could have missed Hijazi's criminal record before hiring him.
Begin Heritage Center spokesman Ofer Inbar said Hejazi worked in a privately-owned restaurant within the center and passed a background check before being employed.
“The restaurant does not belong to the Begin Center, so we have no idea about the personal details of the man, but we do know that people who work in the restaurant have to get a background check from the police first,” Inbar said.
“And we know that the owner of the restaurant got the OK to hire him.”
Hejazi was a kitchen hand at the center’s upscale Terasa, a gourmet mehadrin dairy restaurant.
Abu Mazen's prayers answered: Temple Mount advocate shot by terrorist, critically wounded
Just 11 days after 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud AbbasAbu Mazen called for 'Palestinians' to 'defend' the Temple Mount against Jewish visitors 'by any means,' a prominent advocate for Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount has been shot and critically wounded by a 'Palestinian' terrorist. Yehuda Glick, 50, was shot and wounded by a terrorist outside the Begin Heritage Center across the street from the Old City's walls. The terrorist asked Glick who he was before opening fire.
Glick was shot outside the Begin Heritage center in the capital,
witnesses said, after a terrorist pulled up in a scooter or motorcycle
and shot him before fleeing the scene.
Initial reports are indicating that Glick - who founded and heads the
LIBA Initiative for Jewish Freedom on the Temple Mount - was
deliberately targeted for nationalistic reasons, but police have not yet
officially announced a motive.
The Begin Center had been hosting an event to help in efforts to
re-establish a greater Jewish presence on the Mount Wednesday night,
just before the activist was shot.
He has been rushed to Sha'arei Tzedek Medical Center for immediate medical treatment.
Magen David Adom (MDA) spokesman Zaki Heller said that Glick
was shot in the upper body no fewer than three times and paramedics had
barely had time to speak to him during the initial stages of treatment.
But let's keep pretending that Abu Chickensh*t is a 'moderate.' What could go wrong?
The White House has issued a cautious criticism of the anonymous
Obama administration official who called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu a “chickenshit” in an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, but stopped well short of an outright apology.
“Certainly, that’s not the administration’s view, and we think such comments are inappropriate and counter-productive,” National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey told The Hill.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu and the president have forged an effective
partnership, and consult closely and frequently, including earlier this
month when the president hosted the prime minister in the Oval
There was no indication that the White House would either name the
official who made the remark, nor issue a full apology to Netanyahu for
insulting him with various epithets, including the word “coward.”
Unfortunately, much of the mainstream American Jewish 'leadership' thinks this ought to be enough to bring the controversy to an end. It's not. And they're cowards for saying that it is or ought to be. I'm sure they're laughing all the way to the bank about this in Tehran.
Speaking at the Knesset on Wednesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu hit back at the chickensh*t comments emanating from an anonymous official in the Obama administration.
Let's go to the videotape.
You don't think he's trying to drive a wedge between President Hussein Obama and the American people do you? As if such a wedge doesn't exist already....
Would love to see some real polling numbers as to what the American people think about what Obama's mouthpiece published last night. I suspect that most Americans would side with Netanyahu rather than with the chickensh*t occupant of the White House.
Likud MK: After the elections, we'll call him President Chickensh*t
Here in Israel, our politicians are really paranoid about interfering in other countries' elections (something the Democratic party in the US has never hesitated to do). So this statement from Likud MK Miri Regev is probably about as big a blast against President Obama's chickensh*t comments as you're likely to get before next Tuesday.
"With all due respect for Obama, who is he to hand out grades to the
prime minister?” – Regev asked rhetorically in an interview with Arutz Sheva. “The utterances exhibit chutzpah, are unacceptable and constitute intervention in Israel's affairs by President Obama.
She added: "With all due respect to Obama, and I recognize the
importance of our relationship with the Americans, but to say that
Netanyahu has no courage and to compare him to other leaders? We do not
want to say what we think of Obama out of respect and because of the
"Jews will build homes everywhere in the Land of Israel, including
eastern Jerusalem, and the Arabs can also live anywhere in the state of
Israel,” she said, regarding a major point of contention between the US
Next Wednesday morning, we may see more politicians referring to Chickensh*t Obama.
Whose chickensh*t? Obama's, writes Jonathan Tobin.
It’s quite an indictment but once you get beyond the personal dislike
of the individual on the part of the president, Secretary of State
Kerry, and any other “senior officials” that speak without attribution
on the subject of Israel’s prime minister, all you have is a thin veil
of invective covering up six years of Obama administration failures in
the Middle East that have the region more dangerous for both Israel and
the United States. For all of his personal failings, it is not
Netanyahu—a man who actually served as a combat soldier under fire in
his country’s most elite commando unit—who is a coward or a small-minded
failure. It is Obama and Kerry who have fecklessly sabotaged a special
relationship, an act whose consequences have already led to disaster and
bloodshed and may yet bring worse in their final two years of power.
It was, after all, Obama (and in the last two years, Kerry) who has
spent his time in office picking pointless fights with Israel over
issues like settlements and Jerusalem. They were pointless not because
there aren’t genuine disagreements between the two countries on the
ideal terms for peace. But rather because the Palestinians have never,
despite the administration’s best efforts to tilt the diplomatic playing
field in their favor, seized the chance for peace. No matter how much
Obama praises Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and slights
Netanyahu, the former has never been willing to recognize the legitimacy
of a Jewish state no matter where its borders would be drawn. They also
chose to launch a peace process in spite of the fact that the
Palestinians remain divided between Abbas’s Fatah and Hamas-ruled Gaza, a
situation that makes it impossible for the PA to make peace even if it
wanted to do so. The result of their heedless push for negotiations that
were bound to fail was another round of violence this summer and the
possibility of another terrorist intifada in the West Bank.
On Iran, it has not been Netanyahu’s bluffing about a strike that is
the problem but Obama’s policies. Despite good rhetoric about stopping
Tehran’s push for a nuke, the president has pursued a policy of
appeasement that caused it to discard its significant military and
economic leverage and accept a weak interim deal that began the process
of unraveling the international sanctions that represented the best
chance for a solution without the use of force.
Even faithful Obama supporter Goldberg understands that it would be
madness for Israel to withdraw from more territory and replicate the
Gaza terror experiment in the West Bank. He also worries that the
administration is making a “weak” Iran deal even though he may be the
only person on the planet who actually thinks Obama would use force to
prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon.
So why is the administration so angry with Netanyahu? It can’t be
because Netanyahu is preventing peace with the Palestinians. After the
failure of Kerry’s fool’s errand negotiations and the Hamas missile war
on Israel, not even Obama can think peace is at hand. Nor does he really
think Netanyahu can stop him from appeasing Iran if Tehran is willing
to sign even a weak deal.
The real reason to target Netanyahu is that it is easier to scapegoat
the Israelis than to own up to the administration’s mistakes. Rather
than usher in a new era of good feelings with the Arab world in keeping
with his 2009 Cairo speech, Obama has been the author of policies that
have left an already messy Middle East far more dangerous. Rather than
ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, his decision to withdraw U.S.
troops and to dither over the crisis in Syria led to more conflict and
the rise of ISIS. Instead of ending the Iranian nuclear threat, Obama is
on the road to enabling it. And rather than manage an
Israeli-Palestinian standoff that no serious person thought was on the
verge of resolution, Obama made things worse with his and Kerry’s
hubristic initiatives and constant bickering with Israel.
Israel needs to separate itself from the Obama chickensh*t
Tell me that quote isn't a perfect description of the Obama administration and how it relates to Israel. Here's Bret Stephens to explain why (Hat Tip: Gershon D).
“Despite the fact that Yaalon’s requests to meet with the senior members of
the Obama administration were declined over a week ago, Washington waited until
the visit ended before making the story public in order to humiliate the
Israeli defense minister,” Ha’aretz reported. Mr. Yaalon is now said to be
under an Obama administration “quarantine” until he performs additional
penance, perhaps by recanting his hard-line views about the advisability of a
nuclear deal with Iran or a peace deal with Palestinian President Mahmoud
The good news here is that at least there’s one kind of quarantine this
administration believes in. The bad news is that it seems to give more thought
to pursuing personal vendettas against allies like Israel than it does to
waging effective military campaigns against enemies like ISIS.
The administration also seems to have forgotten that two can play the game.
Two days after the Yaalon snub, the Israeli government announced the
construction of 1,000 new housing units in so-called East Jerusalem, including
600 new units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood that was the subject of a 2010
row with Joe Biden. Happy now, Mr. Vice President?
The real problem for the administration is that the Israelis—along with all
the other disappointed allies—are learning how little it pays to be on Barack
Obama’s good side. Since coming to office in 2009, Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed, against his own inclination and over the
objections of his political base, to (1) recognize
a Palestinian state; (2) enforce an unprecedented 10-month
(3) release scores
of Palestinian prisoners held on murder charges; (4) embark on an
ill-starred effort to reach a final peace deal
with the Palestinians; (5) refrain from taking overt military
steps against Iran; and (6) agree to every possible
cease-fire during the summer’s war with Hamas.
In exchange, Mr. Kerry publicly
blamed Israel for the failure of the peace effort, the White House
held up the delivery of munitions
at the height of the Gaza war, and Mr. Obama is hellbent
on striking whatever deal the Iranians can plausibly offer him.
Oh, and Mr. Kerry also attributes the rise of Islamic State to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. Maybe if the Israelis grovel a bit more, Mr. Obama will oblige them
by recognizing a Palestinian state as his parting act as president. Don’t
discount the possibility.
Which brings me to the concept of a trial separation.
Last year, Mustafa Alani, a Saudi foreign policy analyst, observed of
Riyadh’s evolving attitude toward Washington: “We are learning from our enemies
now how to treat the United States.” Sure enough it wasn’t long after the
Saudis turned down a seat on the Security Council and threatened a fundamental
re-evaluation of their ties to the U.S. that Messrs. Kerry and Obama went bowing
to King Abdullah when they needed the kingdom’s help against ISIS.
At least the Saudis understand the value of showing they’re prepared to be,
as someone once wrote, co-dependent no more. The administration likes to make
much of the $3 billion a year it provides Israel (or, at least, U.S. defense
contractors) in military aid, but that’s now less than 1% of Israeli GDP. Like
some boorish husband of yore fond of boasting that he brings home the bacon,
the administration thinks it’s the senior partner in the marriage.
Except this wife can now pay her own bills. And she never ate bacon to
Small-minded. Ignoble. Takes the trivial seriously. Sounds like the Obama administration. Sounds like a prescription for a bad marriage. Stephens is right: it's time to get away for a while.
Just whom are you calling 'chickensh*t', Mr. President?
Simon Wiesenthal Center founder and director Rabbi Marvin Hier is demanding that President Hussein Obama 'name, apologize for and repudiate,' the anonymous official who called Prime Minister Netanyahu 'chickenshi*t.' This is from the first link.
In a telephone call with The Algemeiner from his Los Angeles
office, an incensed Rabbi Hier declared: “It is rather ironic that a
senior American official is prepared to curse his friends, yet when it
comes to the mortal enemies of the United States – as the Iranians
discovered during the recent nuclear negotiation – praise is heaped on
Goldberg’s piece extensively quoted an anonymous “senior Obama
administration official” who showered Netanyahu with invective, saying,
“The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit.”
Goldberg then observed:
“Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu
to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering,
pompous, and ‘Aspergery.’ (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a
The word “Aspergery” is a derogatory term for individuals with
Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism that affects the part of the brain
that processes emotions.
The same official is quoted as saying: “The good thing about
Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars. The bad thing about him is
that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the
Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s
interested in is protecting himself from political defeat.”
Another senior official, Goldberg wrote, “agreed that Netanyahu is a
‘chickenshit’ on matters related to the comatose peace process, but
added that he’s also a ‘coward’ on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat.”
Commenting on the remarks of this second official, Hier asserted: “He
said Netanyahu is a coward for not taking pre-emptive action against
Iran, but I suppose this anonymous official who is hiding behind his
desk is very brave.”
Asked whether he thought Obama should fire the officials who made
these comments, Hier said “that’s up to the president.” However, he
added, “a senior American official who doesn’t name himself and then
hurls curse words at one of our strongest allies should be repudiated by
the president. President Obama needs to make it clear that these
officials don’t speak for him.
Most of all, an apology is in order: That
is not the way a senior American official should speak to the Prime
Minister of Israel, that is not the way to conduct foreign policy.”
But what if the 'senior official' is Obama himself? Could he repudiate himself? (He wouldn't - nor would he apologize or name himself because Obama is as yellow-bellied as they come, so the second question is almost beside the point). Goldberg is known to be close to Obama, and to allow himself to be used as a mouthpiece when Obama wants to get something out there. It's definitely not beyond Obama to make that kind of comment and to use Goldberg to spread the word.
“Israel is stronger than all those who curse it,” said Bennett, after Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic quoted officials in Washington as having described Netanyahu as “chickens**t”, among other things.
“The prime minister is not a private individual, but the leader of
the Jewish State and the Jewish world as a whole. Serious curses such as
these against the Israeli Prime Minister are harmful to millions of
citizens of Israel and Jews worldwide,” added Bennett.
“Neither the leader of Syria, who has slaughtered 150,000 of his
citizens, nor the leader of Saudi Arabia, who stones women and gays,
have been called ‘chickens**t. If what is written is true, then the
current administration intends to throw Israel under the wheels of the
bus,” he said.
“Instead of attacking Israel and forcing suicide conditions upon it,
it should be strengthened. I call upon the U.S. administration to
renounce these abusive remarks and reject them outright,” he concluded.
Fat chance. I honestly believe that comment was made by Obama himself. In fact, the second 'anonymous official' who agreed is likely John Kerry. Anyone want to argue with me? Anyone looking at the picture above have any doubts about who is 'chickensh*t' and who is not?
UPDATE 8:44 AM
Now that I think about it, one of the officials is likely Martin Indyk, who is known for blamingIsrael and for his foul mouth.
Time to shoot the messenger: Jeffrey Goldberg's chickensh*t article
Since I started writing this blog, I have not often agreed with Jeffrey Goldberg except when he was discussing his former colleague Andrew Sullivan. But at least he generally seemed capable of independent thought. No more. Goldberg has become a tool of the lame duck Obama administration. He's become the kind of Jew we should all love to hate.
The other day I was talking to a senior Obama administration official
about the foreign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the
State Department the most. “The thing about Bibi is, he’s a
chickenshit,” this official said, referring to the Israeli prime
minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, by his nickname.
This comment is representative of the gloves-off manner in which
American and Israeli officials now talk about each other behind closed
doors, and is yet another sign that relations between the Obama and
Netanyahu governments have moved toward a full-blown crisis. The
relationship between these two administrations— dual guarantors of the
putatively “unbreakable” bond between the U.S. and Israel—is now the
worst it's ever been, and it stands to get significantly worse after the
November midterm elections. By next year, the Obama administration may
actually withdraw diplomatic cover for Israel at the United Nations, but
even before that, both sides are expecting a showdown over Iran, should
an agreement be reached about the future of its nuclear program.
The fault for this breakdown in relations can be assigned in good
part to the junior partner in the relationship, Netanyahu, and in
particular, to the behavior of his cabinet. Netanyahu has told several
people I’ve spoken to in recent days that he has “written off” the Obama
administration, and plans to speak directly to Congress and to the
American people should an Iran nuclear deal be reached. For their part,
Obama administration officials express, in the words of one official, a
“red-hot anger” at Netanyahu for pursuing settlement policies on the
West Bank, and building policies in Jerusalem, that they believe have
fatally undermined Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace process.
“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,”
the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickenshit
Israeli prime minister looks like. “The bad thing about him is that he
won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or
with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is
protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s
not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no
I ran this notion by another senior official who deals with the
Israel file regularly. This official agreed that Netanyahu is a
“chickenshit” on matters related to the comatose peace process, but
added that he’s also a “coward” on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat.
The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that
Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities
in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal.
“It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a
possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the
trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness
to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”
Israel and the U.S., like all close allies, have disagreed from time to
time on important issues. But I don’t remember such a period of
sustained and mutual contempt. Much of the anger felt by Obama
administration officials is rooted in the Netanyahu government’s
periodic explosions of anti-American condescension. The Israeli defense
minister, Moshe Ya’alon, in particular, has publicly castigated the
Obama administration as naive, or worse, on matters related to U.S.
policy in the Middle East. Last week, senior officials including Kerry
(who was labeled as “obsessive” and “messianic” by Ya’alon) and Susan
Rice, the national security advisor, refused to meet with Ya’alon on his
trip to Washington, and it’s hard to blame them. (Kerry, the U.S.
official most often targeted for criticism by right-wing Israeli
politicians, is the only remaining figure of importance in the Obama
administration who still believes that Netanyahu is capable of making
bold compromises, which might explain why he’s been targeted.)
And then... OOPS!
One of the more notable aspects of the current tension between Israel
and the U.S. is the unease felt by mainstream American Jewish leaders
about recent Israeli government behavior. “The Israelis do not show
sufficient appreciation for America’s role in backing Israel,
economically, militarily and politically,” Abraham Foxman, the head of
the Anti-Defamation League, told me. (UPDATE: Foxman just e-mailed me
this statement: "The quote is accurate, but the context is wrong. I was
referring to what troubles this administration about Israel, not what
troubles leaders in the American Jewish community.")
And then Goldberg passes along Obama's threats.
What does all this unhappiness mean for the near future? For one
thing, it means that Netanyahu—who has preemptively “written off” the
Obama administration—will almost certainly have a harder time than usual
making his case against a potentially weak Iran nuclear deal, once he
realizes that writing off the administration was an unwise thing to do.
This also means that the post-November White House will be much less
interested in defending Israel from hostile resolutions at the United
Nations, where Israel is regularly scapegoated. The Obama administration
may be looking to make Israel pay direct costs for its settlement
Next year, the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas,
will quite possibly seek full UN recognition for Palestine. I imagine
that the U.S. will still try to block such a move in the Security
Council, but it might do so by helping to craft a stridently
anti-settlement resolution in its place. Such a resolution would isolate
Israel from the international community.
It would also be unsurprising, post-November, to see the Obama
administration take a step Netanyahu is loath to see it take: a public,
full lay-down of the administration’s vision for a two-state solution,
including maps delineating Israel’s borders. These borders, to
Netanyahu's horror, would be based on 1967 lines, with significant West
Bank settlement blocs attached to Israel in exchange for swapped land
elsewhere. Such a lay-down would make explicit to Israel what the U.S.
expects of it.
Let Hussein Obama lay down his 'vision.' After 2016, Obama's vision would have about as much meaning as George W. Bush's 2004 letter had after 2008. That letter was endorsed by Congress. The odds of any 'vision' Obama lays down for the Middle East being endorsed by what is almost certainly going to be a Republican-controlled House and Senate come January is somewhere between 'slim' and none.
Nowhere in Goldberg's article is there any acknowledgment that Gaza
rockets, Hamas tunnels, and Fatah/PA incitement are what have made a
Palestinian state in the West Bank unthinkable, for the moment, to the vast majority
of Israelis. Nor is there any admission that Obama--and Vice President
Joe Biden, and Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry--have
inflamed relations by publicly berating Israel on various occasions.
Goldberg also omits Obama's Cairo speech in 2009, which cast Israel in the Arab mould, as a post-Holocaust sop; his disastrous display of contempt
for Bibi at the White House in 2010; or his attempt to sandbag Bibi in
2011 with a proposal for peace on the 1967 lines (which Goldberg says
today would be a new idea). Obama did some work last year to undo the
damage--then re-did it by cozying up to Qatar and Turkey in the recent
The list goes on: Obama's repeated leaks to forestall any Israeli
preemptive strike on Iran (which Goldberg omits, preferring the White
House narrative that Bibi was afraid to act), Obama's decision to join
the Durban II conference and the UN Human Rights Council long after both
had been established to be anti-Israel farces; and on and on. There are
no equivalents on the Israeli side, and few precedents in any prior
It would be a refreshing change if Goldberg were to stop acting as Obama-Kerry's mouthpiece. Don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen.
Egyptian President Abdel Fateh al-Sisi has finally had it with Hamas attacks on his territory. So he's doing what all good neighbors do: He's building a fence.
In the wake of Friday’s attack in northern Sinai, which killed 33
Egyptian soldiers, Cairo has raised the idea of a building an eight-mile
barrier along its border with Gaza to deter Islamist terrorists from
moving in and out of the Palestinian territory.
“There is a big conspiracy against us,” Egyptian President Abdel
Fatah al-Sisi said in a live, televised address Saturday, in which he
blamed “foreign powers” for the atrocity and said Egypt is locked in an
Egypt, which has declared a three-month state of emergency in
northern Sinai, also cancelled its planned role as mediator between
Israel and Hamas in talks aimed at maintaining a ceasefire that has held
since the end of the summer conflict.
Friday’s sophisticated terrorist attack - which Egyptian authorities
have indicated likely came from Gaza - was launched on Egyptian troops
with devastating effect. Old tunnels that had yet to be destroyed by
Egyptian forces or newly-dug tunnels that had not been detected were
likely used in the attack that combined the use of a suicide bomber on
one hand, with rocket propelled grenades and roadside bombs on the
Egypt has also closed its borders with Gaza. Will anyone care about this 'blockade'? Will countries like Norway and Turkey send ferries to run Egypt's 'blockade' and deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza?
Following Friday’s attack, the Rafah crossing between southern Gaza
and Egypt was closed immediately and will reportedly remain closed
indefinitely. Hamas leaders have reportedly stated that Gaza will
“explode” if the Rafah crossing is not re-opened quickly.
While the southern crossing into Egypt is closed, other border
crossings with Israel remain open. Humanitarian and trade supplies are
being delivered by Israel to the more than 1.8 million residents of Gaza
whose Hamas government fought a 50-day war against them this summer.
The war cost the lives of a reported 2,000 Gazans, according to Hamas
government figures, and 70 Israelis. Recent independent analysis of the
Gazan dead suggests that as many as half were terrorist combatants.
By the way, that article is Fox News - not Arutz Sheva.
Egyptian military sources revealed details on the plan to the Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency on
Tuesday, divulging that all homes and farmland up to a depth of 500
meters (over 1,640 feet) into Gaza from the Sinai border will be seized
and evacuated, other than Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid.
The expulsion will take place to that depth all along the 13 kilometer (over eight mile) border. Additionally, a channel with a depth and width of 20 meters (over 65 feet) will be dug along the Gaza border.
The military source added that residents faced with evacuation are
being offered compensation for abandoning their homes, and around 200
families have already accepted the financial package to vacate.
There are still 680 more families in the area faced with impending expulsion.
Egypt's buffer zone plans are expected to be completed by the end of the year....
Here's betting that the United Nations, the US State Department and the European Union will all have nothing to say about this. After all, what difference does it make?
Of course: Security Council to hold 'emergency session' over Israeli construction in Jerusalem
The massacre of hundreds of thousands of Syrians - first by Assad and then by Islamic State - doesn't merit a Security Council meeting. The massacre of thousands of Kurds by Islamic State doesn't merit one either. Nor does Iran's unwillingness to accept any limitations on its burgeoning nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles program. But 1,000 Jewish apartments in Jerusalem - that's something for the Security Council to call an 'emergency.'
The UN Security Council will hold an "emergency meeting" on Wednesday
to discuss Israeli plans to build more Jewish homes in Jerusalem,
The "urgent" talks were requested by Jordan following a letter from
Palestinian Authority envoy Riyad Mansour who called on the 15-member
council to "address this crisis situation in occupied east Jerusalem."
The announcement follows harsh criticism by senior Israeli officials
of the negative international response to building projects for Jews in
Contrary to Mansour's statement, the building plans announced include
neighborhoods throughout Jerusalem, and not just in its eastern sector.
"East Jerusalem" is a euphemism for parts of the capital liberated from
Jordanian forces, when Jerusalem was reunited by Israeli forces after
the 1967 Six Day War.
If there were a Republican in power, the US would announce in advance an intention to veto any anti-Israel resolution, and that might even thwart the meeting in its tracks. But with Obama and Power, you know this is going to come down to the last minute, and Israel may be condemned or worse.
Netanyahu, at a ground-breaking ceremony for a new port in Ashdod, said
Israel would continue to build new ports, pave roads, lay rail road
tracks and “continue to build in our eternal capital.”
the claim that our building in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem makes
peace more distant, but it is the criticism itself that makes peace more
distant,” Netanyahu said of criticism that poured in following his
announcement of plans to develop 660 more units in Ramot Shlomo in the
northern part of the city and 400 in the southern neighborhood of Har
This criticism, he said, is “detached from reality” and feeds false Palestinian hopes.
Netanyahu said the international community remains quiet when
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “incites to the murder of
Jews in Jerusalem,” but strongly condemns Israel when it builds in
“I don't accept that double standard,” he said. “We
built in Jerusalem, we build in Jerusalem, and we will continue to build
"The French build in Paris, the English build in London - that's the
same as Israel building in Jerusalem," he concluded. "We will continue
to build in Jerusalem and will continue to build here in Ashdod."
"Building in Jerusalem is not something to be done under the table or under the cover of night," Edelstein told Arutz Sheva.
"It has been part of the policy of every Israeli government and
anyone who even thinks that in a peace agreement we will need to
evacuate (the Jerusalem neighborhoods) Gilo, Talpiot and Pisgat Ze'ev
apparently doesn't understand what they're talking about," added the MK.
The Knesset Chairman emphasized that currently there are more than
350,000 Jews living in Judea and Samaria, and "the overwhelming majority
of them are people of action who are dedicated to the state, and there
is no reason to discriminate between them and others."
"Just as the north and the south must be developed, and Jerusalem and
Tel Aviv - so too there is room for student villages and neighborhoods
in Samaria, Gush Etzion (in Judea) and Har Homa (in Jerusalem)," added
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, meanwhile, decried the move in an Israel
Radio interview, saying these types of steps will make it more difficult
for Israel to thwart Palestinian efforts in the UN Security Council .
said while she feels that Israel has the right to build in Jerusalem,
these announcements not only hurt Israel diplomatically, but also worsen
the volatile security situation in the capital.
Indeed, many have argued that the solution to the current housing crisis in
Israel lies precisely in the development of Judea and Samaria, a region
which according to some estimates is over 90% unpopulated.
Instead, Netanyahu has until now imposed a covert freeze on Jewish
construction. The newest announcements still leave much room for doubt
as to whether they constitute a policy change, or are merely a case of
political maneuvering giving the upcoming Likud primaries. Many similar announcements in the past have not actually led to any physical construction.
State Department: Throwing Molotov cocktails at passing cars doesn't make you a terrorist
Another gem from State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki's Monday press briefing.
QUESTION: In the case of the Palestinian American teenager who
was killed on Friday, are you – do you know the circumstances under
which he was shot?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any more details.
QUESTION: There are – okay. The reason I ask is because there
are reports out there that he was throwing Molotov cocktails at cars on a
highway. And I’m wondering, if that is the case, would you have still
been so speedy in putting out a statement and offering your condolences
to the family? The argument that is being made by some in Israel is that
this kid was essentially a terrorist. And you don’t agree with that, I
assume, but I don’t know, so that’s why I’m asking.
MS. PSAKI:Correct, we don’t. I don’t have any more details on the circumstances now.
QUESTION: So you – does that – that would apply even if he was throwing Molotov cocktails?
MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to speculate. I don’t have details to share.
QUESTION: All right. The other thing --
QUESTION: Back to the baby – back to the --
QUESTION: Well, I’ve got – I’ve got to get one more on this
and then I’m done. There is a photograph of this teenager’s – this
teenager being buried today, and he’s wearing a Hamas headband. It was
put on him, obviously. Is that of concern at all to you guys?
MS. PSAKI: I just don’t have any more on this particular case.
So according to Psaki, standing at the exit from the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and throwing Molotov cocktails at passing cars is AOK and does not warrant police using deadly force to put a stop to it? Just askin'... Wait, there's more:
QUESTION: To go back to Matt’s question about – were you aware
when you put out the statement on Friday night that there were
allegations that the Palestinian American teenager had been throwing –
our story said a Molotov cocktail and it was – it had run before your
statement came out. So didn’t you – did you know at the time when you
put out the statement that there were allegations that he was engaged in
MS. PSAKI: Well, there were media reports, Arshad.
MS. PSAKI: Beyond that, I don’t have anything to read out for you.
QUESTION: Right, no. But I just wanted to get on the record
that you knew about those reports when you put out the call for the
QUESTION: Matt – I mean Arshad, I’m happy to talk to our team and see if there’s more --
QUESTION: But just to clarify what Matt was saying, and you said – you kind of said something but it was just very short --
MS. PSAKI: Okay.
QUESTION: -- you do not believe that this teenager was throwing Molotov cocktails. Is that right?
MS. PSAKI: That’s – I don’t have any more to outline or confirm for you in terms of the circumstances.
QUESTION: No, he said that you don’t believe that to be the case.
MS. PSAKI: That’s not what I said.
QUESTION: Do you? And you said no, you – no.
MS. PSAKI:He asked me if we thought he was a terrorist, and I said no.
QUESTION: Oh, okay.
QUESTION: Is that no longer the case? Do you think you were too precipitous, perhaps, in issuing that statement condemning --
MS. PSAKI: I think we’re going to have to move on now.
QUESTION: On Israel, could you talk about
Israel accelerating new settlement units that was just announced today,
and if you – we could just follow on last week. It just seems that
there’s a little bit of acrimony between the U.S. and Israel right now
surrounding the defense minister’s visit, Israel now with these
settlements and what’s going on.
MS. PSAKI: Well, we’ve seen – they’ve been reports. There
haven’t been an official announcement at this point in time. We’re
certainly deeply concerned by the reports. We are engaging at the
highest levels with the Israeli Government from our Embassy on the
ground to get --
QUESTION: Does that mean the President’s called?
MS. PSAKI: No. We’re – I said on the ground – from our Embassy
on the ground to get more information. And we continue to make our
position absolutely clear that we view settlement activity as
illegitimate and unequivocally oppose unilateral steps that prejudge the
future of Jerusalem. Israel’s leaders have said they would support a
pathway to a two-state solution, but moving forward with this type of
action would be incompatible with the pursuit of peace, and that is
certainly a message that we are conveying directly.
In terms of our relationship, the defense relationship, as you know,
remains as strong as ever and the ties between us are unshakable. There
are times when we disagree with actions of the Israeli Government,
including settlements, the issue of settlements, where we have deep
concerns about some of the steps the government is taking. We express
those, but it does not mean that we don’t have a strong and formidable
relationship that continues.
The areas in which Israel approved construction over the weekend - Ramat Shlomo and Har Homa - are nowhere near any 'Palestinians' (okay, they're both near 'Palestinians,' but the areas in which the construction was approved are adjacent to already-existing Jewish housing).
The State Department is hung up on steps that 'prejudge the future of Jerusalem,' but through its opposition to construction in the city, it is prejudging the future of Jerusalem (and of the entire enterprise of a 'Palestinian state') by ensuring that the 'Palestinians' have no incentive to compromise on their zero sum demands. Israel has shown (Gaza disengagement) that it is willing to uproot 'settlements' (although it would need far stronger assurances that real peace is at hand than are currently on the horizon) for even a remote chance of peace. 'Settlements' are not an obstacle to peace. 'Settlements' are the only consequences that might have any hope on having any effect on the recalcitrance of the 'Palestinians.' by declaring 'settlements' 'illegitimate,' the United States ensures that the 'Palestinians' have NO incentive to compromise.
Additionally, the lack of construction has led to an impossible housing crisis in the city in which most construction is luxury construction that is being sold to foreign investors at prices that young couples can only dream about having the money to pay. A storage room with a window and a corner walled off as a bathroom can rent for nearly $1,000 per month in many neighborhoods in Jerusalem.
There's much more that's disturbing in this briefing and I suspect it's only going to get worse as there will be no consequences for Obama's behavior over the next two years and two months after November 4.
I know that the picture is in Hebrew, but if you can't read the notice, you may not be able to do what it asks anyway. It's a request for people to study Mishna in memory of (Karen) Yamima Mosquera HY"D (May God Avenge her blood), who passed away yesterday. If you're dialing from outside Israel, drop the first zero and add +972.
I'm proud to tell you that my sons' school took on to study the entire six orders of Mishna within the thirty-day mourning period and that my 12-year old took on three tractates.
As many of you may have heard, Defense Minister Moshe (Boogie) Yaalon was denied meetings with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice in Washington last week.
U.S. officials said the Obama
administration had rejected requests by Ya'alon for meetings with Vice
President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Secretary
of State John Kerry during Ya'alon's five-day trip to the U.S. last
While in the U.S., Ya'alon did meet with
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha
Power. The Obama administration had sought to stop Ya'alon from meeting
Power, but the objections were made too late to cancel the meeting,
according to U.S. officials.
The Obama administration is miffed with
Ya'alon over negative comments he has made about Kerry's efforts to
broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal and the nuclear negotiations
being held between world powers and Iran.
But it's not that the administration is miffed with Yaalon's comments about Kerry. It's something far deeper than that. Yaalon is a straight shooter.
recently said the lack of resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue is
leading to street anger and recruitment for the Islamic State. What is
Unfortunately, we find
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is dominated by too many
misconceptions. We don’t find any linkage between the uprising in
Tunisia, the revolution in Egypt, the sectarian conflict in Iraq and the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mainly, these come from the Sunni-Shia
conflict, without any connection to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
core of the conflict is their reluctance to recognize our right to
exist as a nation state of the Jewish people — whether it is
[Palestinian Authority President] Abu Mazen or his predecessor [Yasser]
Arafat. There are many who believe that just having some territorial
concessions will conclude it. But I don’t think this is right.
Will territorial concessions bring peace?
No, they would be another stage of the Palestinian conflict, as we experienced in the Gaza Strip.
We disengaged from the Gaza Strip to address their territorial
grievances. They went on attacking us. The conflict is about the
existence of the Jewish state and not about the creation of the
Palestinian one. Any territory that was delivered to them after Oslo
became a safe haven for terrorists.
Bearing that in
mind, to conclude that after the [recent] military operation in Gaza
this is a time for another withdrawal from Judea and Samaria [the West
Bank] is irrational. If we withdraw now from Judea and Samaria, we might
face another Hamastan.
Do you believe in a two-state solution?
can call it the new Palestinian empire. We don’t want to govern them,
but it is not going to be a regular state for many reasons.
What does that mean — the Palestinian empire?
Autonomy. It is going to be demilitarized.
In Gaza and the West Bank?
is up to them. According to the agreement, they should be
demilitarized. It is up to Abu Mazen if he is able or if he wants to
demilitarize Gaza. Otherwise, we are not going to talk about any final
Is Abu Mazen the best Palestinian leader you’re going to get?
I don’t know, but he is not a partner for the two-state solution. He doesn’t recognize the existence of the Jewish state.
He says he is against violence.
But this is a tactical consideration. He believes he might get more by
what he calls “political resistance” — going to the United Nations or to
international bodies to delegitimize us. He prefers it to violence
because in his experience, terror doesn’t pay off.
Is that why you said Secretary Kerry should just get a Nobel Prize and go home? Do you think the West just doesn’t get it?
spoke about misconceptions. It is a misunderstanding, without naming
anyone. It might be naivete or wishful thinking — ‘We the Westerners
know what is good for the Arabs.’ To believe that you can have
democratization with elections . . . it is collapsing in front of us.
And part of it is ignorance, yes.
Anyone want to count how many sacred cows Yaalon just slaughtered?
A foundation financed by Theresa Heinz Kerry - wife of US Secretary of State John FN Kerry - is underwriting a Pittsburgh restaurant that distributes anti-Israel propaganda with its food (picture from The Federalist Papers via Leah P).
A food cart that hands out anti-Israel propaganda with each of its
sandwiches has received funding from a foundation run by Secretary of
State John Kerry’s wife.
Conflict Kitchen, a pop-up restaurant located at the intersection of Carnegie Mellon University and Pittsburgh University the
University of Pittsburgh, seeks to use food to educate locals and
college students about countries that are allegedly in conflict with the
It recently began serving Palestinian food wrapped in leaflets that
include quotes from Palestinians defending terrorism and opposing the
existence of Israel.
“How can you compare Israeli F-16s, which are some of the best
military planes in the world, to a few hundred homemade rockets?” states
one quote on the wrapper, a reference to Hamas rocket attacks against Israelis. “You’re pushing them to the absolute extreme. So what do you expect?”
“Palestinians are not going to just let [Israel] in and drop their
arms,” it adds. “No, they’re going to kill and they are going to die.”
The statements on the wrappers were taken from interviews with
Palestinians. They are published without quotation marks and do not
appear to be edited for accuracy.
Another section of the wrapper refers to the creation of Israel as
“an intentional and ongoing offensive.” It also alleges that Israel
deliberately blocks Palestinians from obtaining drinking water, opposes
non-Jews from becoming citizens, and has assassinated or imprisoned all
of the non-corrupt Palestinian leaders.
According to the wrapper, Conflict Kitchen is supported in part by
the Heinz Endowment, which is chaired by Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz
A spokesman for the Heinz Endowment told the Washington Free Beacon that it gave Conflict Kitchen a $50,000 grant last April to support its relocation to another site in Pittsburgh.
The Conflict Kitchen claims to be interested in other conflicts. And indeed, it is.
Previously, Conflict Kitchen served Iranian food along with leaflets
that included quotes that claimed a nuclear Iran would not be a threat
and that the United States would profit from any military intervention.
“Iran should equally have the right to develop nuclear weapons,” said one quote on wrapper.
“In general, Iranian people have no issues with the Jews,” said
another quote. “What Iranians resent is the creation of the state of
Israel because of the disaster that it created for millions of
Palestinians. To this day, Israel refuses to recognize the United
Nation’s resolutions for Israel to leave the occupied lands.”
The Heinz Endowment was not listed as a supporter of Conflict Kitchen on the Iranian food wrapper.
According to Conflict Kitchen’s Palestinian leaflets, it also
receives funding from the Sprout Fund, the Benter Foundation, and the
Studio for Creative Inquiry. The Benter Foundation is run by
horse-racing tycoon and Democracy Alliance member Bill Benter, who was revealed to be a major funder of liberal Middle East lobbying group J Street in 2010.
The 'Palestinian Authority' fears the Islamists too
Here's a 'Palestinian Authority' television interview with Israeli Islamist leader Kamal Khatib. When Khatib says that Jerusalem will be the capital of the Caliphate, 'Palestinian Authority' television cuts him off!
Former ISIS hostages: No, Sotloff didn't convert; Yes, he fasted on Yom Kippur
When Stephen Sotloff HY"D (May God Avenge his blood) was murdered by ISIS, and it was publicized that he was an Israeli citizen and observed Yom Kippur, at least one blogger attacked him for converting to Islam (see the comments to that post).
hostages said that a majority of the Western prisoners had converted
during their difficult captivity. Among them was Mr. Kassig, who adopted
the name Abdul-Rahman, according to his family, who learned of his
conversion in a letter smuggled out of the prison.
a handful of the hostages stayed true to their own faiths, including
Mr. Sotloff, then 30, a practicing Jew. On Yom Kippur, he told his
guards he was not feeling well and refused his food so he could secretly
observe the traditional fast, a witness said.
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-five years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 12 to 33 years and eight grandchildren. Three of our children are married! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com